Making Angklung (Saung Angklung Udjo)

1. Choosing The Bamboo

Bamboo is the material of an Angklung. It is choosing by its age. It has to be at least 4 years old and not more than 6 years old. It is cut in the dry season, between 9 am and 3 pm at the afternoon. After being cut at its base, with the size about 2-3 span of the hand, it should be stored for about 1 week, so that the bamboo will contain less water.


After a week, the bamboo should be separated from its branches. It should be cut into certain various sizes. Then, it should be stored for about one year to prevent it from termites. Some of the procedures are: by sinking out the bamboo beneath mud field, pool or river, also by smoking it at the fireplace, and the modern procedure: by using a certain liquid chemistry formula.

2. The Parts Of Angklung

Each Angklung consist of 3 parts:

The Voice Tubes
The most important part of an Angklung, is the voice tubes which produce intonation. Tuning process makes the intonation.

The Frame
Frame supports the voice tubes to stand inside the hollow space.

The Base
It functions as the frame of the voice tubes.

3. Tuning The Voice Tube Process

Half-Done Process

It is the process of Shaping the bamboo become laths of voice tube.

Resonance Tuning Process
It is the process of blowing the lower part of an Angklung to the floor and measuring it to the tuner.

Main Voice Tuning Process
It is the process of  tuning the voice by increasing and decreasing the tone by striking voice. Also it is the process of increasing the tone by cutting its upper parts slightly, and decreasing the tone by shaping both voice laths with shaping knife.

How to Use a Tuner:

  • To use a tuner, we should pay attention to both of the lamps on the left and the right of the panel, and also the pointer needle.
  • For example, if you’re going to make an “F” tone, you should shake the Angklung while paying attention to both of the lamps which will flame together, and the to pointer needle which will point the “F” letter.

4. Finishing

After each of the voice tubes has its tone, it should be put into the frame laths and be tied of rattan rope.

5. Maintenance

Re-Tuning Angklung

1. If the tone of angklung is higher than the normal tone, the angklung (side A) can be whittled by knife little by little until it reaches the tone wished.
2. If the tone of angklung is lower than the normal tone, the end of angklung (side B) can be cutr little by little until it reaches the normal tone.

Maintain Angklung

Since Angklung is made of bamboo, its construction and endurance are not as good as those of metallic things. Therefore, it needs good maintenance and storage. Good Angklung is made of old and dry bamboo. It takes at least one year to store the bamboo material in order to get the proper/high-pitched voice and to prevent termites. It endurances can be fifteen years, providing it is in a good maintenance.

In our place (Saung Angklung Udjo) we have tried to make the Angklung from the very dry bamboo. However, nowadays we haven’t got the supply of one – year-old bamboo, but only eight – month – old one. This condition is caused by the limitation of its availability and storage. Moreover, it needs high production cost.

Nevertheless, to get the good Angklung in such condition, we can do the following maintenance:

  • When Angklung arrives in a new place, it should be set/hanged in the standard (don’t let it be kept in its packaging). Before using it, we should check the set of Angklung one by one; in case it is subject to termites. We should do this at least one in three days. While checking, mix Pringgawasih Prima liquid with water 1 : 2, spray the Angklung with it. The most important thing is that if the bamboo is 100% dry, the termites attack will not happen. In turn, the Angklung will be free of termites
  • The storage should be dry, not moist. After about four – month – storage, it is no problem if Angklung is put in a room with AC, but at least once a week it should be checked while being cleaned from the dust that is in and out of the tubes.
  • The movement of Angklung from our place (Saung Angklung Udjo) to the new place (the place of consumer) may effect the voice (usually up about 30 Hz) because of the different condition of air temperature. To solve this problem, we should re-tuning the Angklung. Re-tuning is usually done six months after the movement; it means the Angklung has been dry at all.
  • In an area with higher temperature, like Jakarta, sometimes, the base of voice tube cracks. It does not effect the voice but it only needs wood adhesive. However, it the bas of tube or the big tube breaks, the Angklung should be changed (this break is not because of the natural condition but of falling down or being in a tight spot)




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